All Hat and No Cattle

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Tue, 15 Jul 2008 08:09:05 GMT  <== Politics ==> 

Sara Robinson at Blog for Our Future - Ms. Robinson's dad was a real cowboy, unlike GW Bush, who has soiled the name. [tmm]

My dad, who died six years ago today, was a cowboy. A real one, complete with beat-up Stetson and muddy ropers and a Ford pickup and an ancient blanket-lined Levi's jean jacket that smelled of manure, leather, horse sweat, and tobacco -- the distinctive aroma of all cowboys, the one that's rubbed so deep into their sunburned hides that it doesn't come out no matter how long they spend in the shower or how much Old Spice they try to mask it with. Dad's been on my mind a lot this week -- well, Dad, Jefferson, and George W. Bush.


Daddy hated George Bush. Loathed him to the marrow of his cancer-ridden bones. He'd spent a good portion of his 32-year teaching career imparting American history and civics to high school students, becoming a California Master Teacher along the way. Jefferson was his personal hero; that quote about the tree of liberty needing frequent watering by the blood of patriots and tyrants a favorite quote. A child of the Roosevelt era (he was born just three weeks before the 1932 election), he knew a corporate royalist when he saw one. And he also knew from Day One that this guy was trouble -- that, in fact, that he was likely to bring about the biggest Constitutional crisis in the history of the country. "America may not survive him," he warned me. "You may live to see the nation's last days."

But in Dad's eyes, Bush's biggest crime was what that dude (back home in Miles City, "dude" was an epithet that started fistfights -- it was calling someone "all hat and no cattle" in the most derogatory way possible) had done to the image of cowboys, both in America and abroad. To Dad and his friends, the cowboy code was sacred and absolute. Guys who spend weeks out in the wilderness with large quantities of other people's capital have to be trustworthy, honest, and self-sufficient. You mess up, you fess up. You take on a responsibility, you see it through to the end. You are awe-struck by women, tender with children, and hospitable to strangers as long as they're hospitable to you. You don't start fights -- but you better be able to finish them. To that end, you're proficient with your firearm; but you never, ever fire first unless lives hang in the balance. You are modest, underpaid, usually broke -- and number yourself among the luckiest people in the world anyway.

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Submitted by Lenny Ladner on Sun, 20 Jul 2008 01:17:33 GMT

Your dad was a good guy. I would have liked to have met him.
Sorry another good American has bit the dust.

Lenny Ladner

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